~By Amanda Smith
“This year’s felt like
Four seasons of winter
And you'd give anything
To feel the sun”
- Reason (Unspoken)
When I first heard the opening of this song by Unspoken, everything in me cried, “YES! THIS!”
This year brought more unexpected changes and interruptions to my writing life than any before: unexpected travel, lovely visitors, a left hand immobilized for four months due to a broken wrist, and an extended stint as a long-term substitute teacher. Now, it isn’t all bad.
But it is all busy.
I’m not about to throw a pity party (been there, done that), but I do want to address the reality of months, or years, not turning out the way we anticipated when we first set those shiny New Year’s writing goals.
There had been times like this in my life before, where I couldn’t find space for creativity or writing due to The Urgent pulling at me. There had been years where I had walked away from writing. And the return had been slow and laborious.
This year, amid Nor’easters of life pummeling me, I was resolved. This year, unlike other stormy times, I’d kept my one hand on my writing.
In order to do that, I had to adjust my goals. I am not pushing to finish my novel before the end of the year as I had planned. I am working on smaller projects that can endure interruption with more grace, such as querying and research, revisions on picture books, writing poetry and other shorter pieces. I keep moving forward, even if it is at a snail’s pace.
I keep learning, thinking and observing. I spent most of my immobilized summer reading mentor texts, new publications, and craft books.
I keep active in my writing community. The mere fact that I have a critique group expecting a manuscript from me, drives me to write, or revise. Giving feedback on their work, keeps my head in the game. Connecting with other writers at events, invigorates me, and reminds me of who I am amid the blizzards. And meeting with my monthly accountability group, keeps me setting and checking off teeny-tiny-but-moving-forward-goals.
I keep making space to create.
So coming back will be easier.
So I won’t let go forever.
Because Spring will come.
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